Disconnected Listings in Google Search Results?


impak

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Hello everyone! I'm pretty new here; hoping to learn and get some help from you guys. I posted this on the Google forums already, but got nothing.

Problem: A number of business listings no longer show up in the normal results page or places search; but the website that's linked to the listing is showing organically. The listings are totally disconnected and all of them have some commonalities among them.

Examples:
- Christine Relyea (New York) If you search "Staten Island State Farm", she's there organically but not in places search; to go more specific, "10314 state farm" she still isn't there
- Chad Radtke (Illinois) If you search "Huntley IL State Farm", he's there organically but not in places search; more specific, "60142 State Farm" he isn't there either

They are nowhere to be found and the only way for them to show in places search is by their phone numbers. I have 6 businesses that are like this right now (all of them are State Farm agents).

The last date they showed for anything in places is late September (the 25th/26th to be exact); impressions also corresponded to the drop and fell drastically.

- All listings are live on places
- All of them have some kind of NAP issue (it ranges from barely anything to 20+ directories)
- All websites show organically (the statefarm url); I searched for state farm keyword (easiest to determine if they were showing organically or not)

Help! Any ideas?

Thanks
 

Linda Buquet

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Christine is grayed out and marked as a dupe in MM: Google Map Maker

The other I didn't see any stand out issues.

But I just wonder about the G+L title: Name State Farm Insurance on both.

I mean I do realize there are a ton of other agents named that way but it just seems it could 'possibly' cause a problem???
 

impak

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Hello Linda, thanks for the reply.

I am aware that Christine's MM listing is marked as a duplicate (I have reported it in MM that it shouldn't be).

I have a few other clients who don't have MM problems and are also disconnected, another listing experiencing this is Roberto Sanchez (California).

As for the title, basically all of our clients are titled that way, so I'm not quite sure about that.

I might fiddle around with the title, we'll see how that goes.

Thanks for your help!
 

Linda Buquet

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As for the title, basically all of our clients are titled that way, so I'm not quite sure about that.

I might fiddle around with the title, we'll see how that goes.
Well I wasn't saying change it. Fiddling with title is not good and can cause problems unless very well thought out and sure it needs to change. Not even saying that for sure it's wrong...

Like I said many other agents are named that way, but then again maybe because most of them are your clients.

I'd have Joy and Colan come to this thread so we can brainstorm it. But here are some thoughts I have...

1) You know how with Drs for example we recommend not naming the Dr listings Alpine Wellness: Dr John Smith. Because if they all have the practice name in the listing then they can fight with the practice listing for dominance and knock the practice listing out of blended due to dupe confusion?

2) You know how with Attys for example we advise same thing, not including the practice name in the Atty listing in part to help try to avoid merges?

Also seems it could be seen as keyword stuffed. Almost seems if individ agent should be name only. BUT if owner or agency, should be State Farm Insurance Agency or whatever the real name is. Like on Christine's Sign it looks like the name is "Christine Relyea".

NOT SAYING CHANGE NAME, just throwing it out there for discussion.

Other things you COULD try tweaking...

Categories look KW spammed to me. I recommend not repeating the same word more than twice in Cats. I know with this industry it would be hard to do. But look how many times insurance and agency is repeated.

"Insurance Agency,Health Insurance Agency,Auto Insurance Agency,Life Insurance Agency,Insurance Agencies"

DEF in this case with so much repetition would not do Insurance Agencies both singular and plural. Maybe on Agency change to Agent. One change to service or something. Then I guess there is no other way to say Insurance, so a little stuck on that one.

"Looking for an insurance company that offers low, affordable insurance rates with excellent customer service? Get good rates without cheap service or coverage. Also offering financial services."

Think like the algo. Spammers do KW repetition. Insurance is IN THE NAME, repeated 5 times in cats, repeated twice in description.

I know you aren't trying to be spammy at all! And I know it's hard to talk about an insurance business without repeating the word. BUT I also know that excessive repetition can trip a filter.

(Not saying it has, just a slight possibility to consider.)

To think like the algo and put things in another perspective, one you are not so close to, do this. Exchange the word Insurance for Locksmith. Name: Joe Smith XYZ Locksmith. Locksmith repeated in all 5 cats and twice in description.

So the cats and description ARE something you can fiddle with to see if it helps. Just change a couple listings and see if it helps.
 

Linda Buquet

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As for the title, basically all of our clients are titled that way, so I'm not quite sure about that.
I just noticed one of your other agent listings that a MM RER just corrected name on.

The listing name was: First Last State Farm Insurance
He said: "This feature should have its name changed as the name of the business is State Farm per signage and Mo Mahoney is an agent for State Farm."

So I think he also views it as sort of a double name. Google Map Maker

So not saying he's correct, because I think these cases are shades of gray. Only saying that's how a mapper or the algo or even a Googler may view it if it comes to their attention.

ALSO note on that at my link in this post, he deleted a bunch of categories as repetitive. (Again only saying that's how a mapper or the algo or even a Googler may view it if it comes to their attention.)
 

impak

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Thanks for looking into this Linda. Your last two posts (on categories and title) will give me stuff to tinker and think about in the next little while. I'll certainly report back if things change, in case this happens to anyone else.
 

Linda Buquet

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You know yesterday when I was researching in MM, everytime I hit the MM home page, you know where it shows you current edits all over... there were a TON of insurance agents being edited and deleted.

Didn't really have time to investigate. Could possibly have been dupes or bogus listings or something. BUT there were so many that it almost made me thing someone's doing a sweep on that industry. Because typically you'll see a mix of businesses, roads, etc. But each time I looked there were like 3 - 4 insurance agents being edited or I think most were even deleted.

If you check right now there are several Allstate Agents deleted: Google Map Maker

I'm going to PM Colan and Joy because this could be significant, not sure.
In fact one name I recognize and think it could be one of your clients. Seba?
 

JoyHawkins

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Linda,

Thank you so much for the PM. The guy posting on this thread is Amos and he works for Imprezzio Marketing too so I will make sure he updates his profile so you realize we all work together :)

Your comment about MM is extremely interesting. I've been corresponding with Google recently about the proper titles for Mapmaker/G+ because the Professional listing scenario does NOT apply to insurance agents and it's becoming extremely frustrating. Basically if the MM guys don't agree with me and the business owner, they do what they feel best represents the business. My issue with that is that they're wrong and they're basing their decisions on things like signs even though every other source out there (business cards, facebook pages, yellowpage listings, direct mail and even the legal business name) indicates the listing should be listed the way we're providing. Even State Farm's corporate feed to Google includes the agent name. There is a reason for this. Business owners do know more about their business than any RER could know so I'm getting to the point where I'm becoming really irritated that me and the business owner are left in the hands of edits on MM and if they disagree with me, I'm SOL. I'll email you a conversation I'm having about this at the moment.
 

JoyHawkins

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Feel free to jump into the conversation if you'd like lol. I emailed Mo (the agent) to get his feedback.
 
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Linda,

Thank you so much for the PM. The guy posting on this thread is Amos and he works for Imprezzio Marketing too so I will make sure he updates his profile so you realize we all work together :)

Your comment about MM is extremely interesting. I've been corresponding with Google recently about the proper titles for Mapmaker/G+ because the Professional listing scenario does NOT apply to insurance agents and it's becoming extremely frustrating. Basically if the MM guys don't agree with me and the business owner, they do what they feel best represents the business. My issue with that is that they're wrong and they're basing their decisions on things like signs even though every other source out there (business cards, facebook pages, yellowpage listings, direct mail and even the legal business name) indicates the listing should be listed the way we're providing. Even State Farm's corporate feed to Google includes the agent name. There is a reason for this. Business owners do know more about their business than any RER could know so I'm getting to the point where I'm becoming really irritated that me and the business owner are left in the hands of edits on MM and if they disagree with me, I'm SOL. I'll email you a conversation I'm having about this at the moment.
I disagree, signs are a primary way businesses are represented in the real world and typically represent the Primary name of a feature. Naming guidelines in GMM and Places say to name things how they are in the real world. People don't refer to State Farm agent locations or the agents themselves as "Jon Doe State Farm."

Most State Farm businesses I've come across are branded State Farm on the sign and on the door. The agents work for state farm as agents, most if not all are exclusive agents. Essentially they are employees of State Farm (save the legalese). The only reason Google allows names for professionals is so they have an identity from the company they work for/at. Not to stuff the brand they work for and sell the product for in the name. Many locations are essentially State Farm franchises where the agents are the primary person working there. State Farm, as far as I know, is the insurance broker of their own product.

I'd love to have more insight into how these are structured (differently than I believe they are) because the average person looking for one State Farm location over another is only going to do so because of location and customer service of a particular agent. I doubt they get different rates as they are selling State Farm. I have yet to hear how these locations are any different.
 
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My issue with that is that they're wrong and they're basing their decisions on things like signs even though every other source out there (business cards, facebook pages, yellowpage listings, direct mail and even the legal business name) indicates the listing should be listed the way we're providing.
Joy, in our discussions we already covered that Google separates real world and virtual world. You can keyword stuff virtual sites all you want, but that does not make it the name to be used in Maps/Places. You can also put whatever you want in the Yellowpages, they don't care as long as you pay, so it is not a good source.

When it came to the legal name of the business and we looked at business licenses as you stated that name format you wanted to use was on there, when you finally got a copy of the business license it only had the agent's name on it as the business name because State Farm would not allow the phrase "State Farm" to be in the legal business name for liability purposes. (your words, not mine).

As Andrew state, signs are real world, and when we looked a bunch of them we found that they never have the name format you want to use.

We then looked at the State Farm site, as even though it is virtual world, as the company site it should at least support your name format. It specifically has the agent name only on each of their pages as the /h1 title.

Your argument basically is that the name should be allowed because you can provide business cards, corporate websites, letterhead, (some) signage etc. that have both the State Farm logo on it and the agent's name on it. The thing is, in every case they are separate; a logo and perhaps the State Farm name, and then in a separate location in a different colour and font is the agent's name. They are not in the format you want. My own business card at work has the company name and logo on it, and then also my name. That does not make the company name my name + company name + product.

I mention product because "Insurance" is also keyword stuffing the name; State Farm calls themselves just that, it is not State Farm Insurance. The real world examples all support that, as does their company site.

So we are not concentrating on the signs, but rather we looked at all the real world uses one after another and found that not a single one supports that naming format.
 
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I have some good news for you. I sent your issue to an escalations team asking them what the best was that we could do for you and they discussed it among the entire team. They have replied that for these single professional locations they will allow the specific format of "State Farm - [agent name]<agent name="">". The hyphen is necessary as a separator.

They would need to all follow this convention, and they cannot use the world "Insurance" as that would be a descriptor (ie. keyword stuffing). Instead, this should be indicated by using "Insurance Agency" as the category.

Be aware that this has been determined by applying the current policies that are in place and finding the allowable solution that came as close as possible to what you were attempting. Some time back I esculated the entire issue of professional listings versus business listings, and apparently I sparked a large discussion within Google that was going to multiple offices and quite high up the chain. While this usually means it will be quite some time for resolution, we could, as a result, see an overall policy change in the future.</agent>
 

JoyHawkins

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Half of that is definitely good news!! I got the same reply from the local team at Google.

However, using "insurance" in the business title is definitely not keyword stuffing. The word "insurance" used to be included on the State Farm logo before they changed it but is still used tons of places.

Also for Farmers and Allstate this helps distinguish them from other companies (Like Allstate Moving).

Please do not change any insurance listings on MM until I run this by Google because I have asked numerous times about the descriptions and titles I have used for insurance agents and am always told they are fine.
 
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I'm sorry, but there is a difference between "in the logo" and "in the name". Additionally, as you said, it is "used to be". So even if it had been in the name rather than the logo; it is not in the name at this time.

Further, to state "this helps distinguish them" is the definition of a descriptor. The categories are what is meant to accomplish that. Descriptors are not allowed in the name.

They were quite clear about the "Insurance" aspect. Again, it is not part of the name, and we will not be able to approve any instances of it within Map Maker.
 

JoyHawkins

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Okay. I am contacting Google to get some clarity since pretty much every insurance listing out there at the moment for the major carriers is listed this way. If they really considered it spam, I think that wouldn't be the case on such a large scale.

Farmers, Allstate, and State Farm all have corporate bulk feeds as well using that in the title which have not been denied or edited by anyone at Google.
 
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That would be due to the automated nature of Places, versus the hands on approach taken in Map Maker. Map Maker is where we find what was slipped through in Places and fix it.

Are you sure you want to bring to their attention that this company is keyword stuffing every listing? In Maps and Map Maker they repair such things, so I didn't mind telling them. In Places they delete such listings, and then ban the account if it occured multiple times.
 
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I received feedback that having a State Farm feature and a Professional listing for situations like Mo Mahoney's would not constitute a duplicate. Simply said there could be two features for Mo's location with the following names:
State Farm
Mo Mahoney - State Farm
 

JoyHawkins

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@Andrew - I received the exact opposite answer when I asked about insurance. Similar to what Gregg mentioned, I was told that professional listings do not apply here since there are not multiple "professionals" at the location and the agent is the owner.

@Gregg - I want to follow the guidelines and not run into issues with these listings. They have all been listed this way since Google Places started and I've never been told they were considered keyword stuffing. The word insurance is part of the business title according to everywhere they are listed online. If there is an issue with that, I want to know because currently about 99% of the listings out there are listed in that format. If it was an issue, I would think that wouldn't be the case. So yeah, I definitely want to know why all the listings currently are that way if it is against some rule. Also, according to the business owners the word "insurance" should be part of the title.
 
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Again, online does not matter, real world is what matters. But since you insist on looking at online, go again to the State Farm website. They use State Farm over and over, they never use State Farm Insurance. State Farm Insurance is a product, and you know the rules ban products in the name.
 

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